By Ryan Maquiñana
In an interview with this writer and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor Monday afternoon, junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and Victor Conte revealed that the former would enroll in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association program and submit to unprecedented year-round drug testing.
“There’s a new anti-doping association called VADA, Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, that’s headed up by Dr. Margaret Goodman in Las Vegas,” Conte said. “And Nonito actually just signed the enrollment forms today and agreed to be the first professional boxer to do truly what they call Olympic-style testing, which means 24/7/365, anytime, anywhere.”
The fighter confirmed that the program will commence the day after his July 7 unification showdown with fellow 122-pound titlist Jeffrey Mathebula. Conte explained that scheduling conflicts would not allow the program to begin with this fight.
“He’s agreed to have them collect blood and urine which I think is an historic and very important thing in this climate of boxing. He’s leading by example,” Conte said.
Donaire clarified why he decided to agree to such terms, especially since he was fully cognizant that he would be scrutinized due to his association with Conte, the founder of BALCO who has reinvented himself as an anti-doping activist.
“I’m working with Victor. That’s pretty much it,” he said. “I know Victor is a great guy. We have this chemistry. We’re like family. To me, I’m constantly attacked by press people and journalists saying, ‘Why are you working with Victor?’
“And I say, ‘I got a vein, you got a needle.’ Let’s test. Let’s do it. It doesn’t matter what time, day, [or] location. I’m here, I’m fair, and I know I’m a clean fighter, and I think it’s good for boxing.
“It’s good for the whole sport that an athlete presents himself in an honest way, and not only that, but it gives credibility to my work with Victor and how great of a nutritionist and scientist that he is in terms of the body.”
Conte chimed in with why he thinks Donaire made the choice, informing BoxingScene.com after the interview that the year-round testing will be paid for via a sponsorship made possible by private donors.
“I believe his real reason is he’d like to show his fans he’s clean, he has nothing to hide, and I think it’s a great statement for a fighter to make for his fan base,” Conte said.
The televised interview then shifted to Donaire’s thoughts regarding the controversial split decision that awarded Tim Bradley a massive upset over pound-for-pound superstar Manny Pacquiao.
“There’s really nothing else to say,” Donaire said. “Everybody has just one thing to say. That was absurd. That was crazy. That was insanity. Any negative word that could come out of your mouth is what would come out of people’s mouth because it was just, there’s really nothing else. It was a black eye. It was everything that a boxing—we were set back many, many years from where we’re at now.”
Donaire then continued to speak after the cameras were off.
“While it was one of the most negative things to happen to the sport in a while, there are a lot of positives as well,” he said. “I love boxing. I was just frustrated watching that because there has to be something done.
“Whether it means changing the way we train the judges or the way we pick the judges, we need to do something. I’m all for cleaning up this sport, and if they take care of their job with the stuff outside the ring, I promise to do my part as a fighter inside the ring. That’s why I’m doing this testing.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.Tags: Nonito Donaire